Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Scottish - Newcraighall review 1

Newcraighall railway station looking north

16/5/12 Edinburgh to Newcraighall
Dept Edinburgh 09.01
Arrive Newcraighall 09.11
Traction used Class 158 2-car DMU
Weather : cloudy and sunny

I get on the train at Haymarket, though the train has started at Kirkcaldy and will return there and do a loop of the Fife Circle (anti-clockwise) before returning to Newcraighall. The train departs from Platform 19 of Edinburgh Waverley, right on the extreme left of the station, looking east, with just platform 20 beyond that. By now the three-quarters full train has emptied and there is just me and two others in my carriage.
As we leave Edinburgh there is a large piece of wasteland on the right just after the station. I'm surprised no one has built on it yet. Then we enter the Calton tunnel which lasts for about half a mile. We emerge to mainly traditional terrace houses on both sides. Then the four tracks become two as we pass Hibernians FC on the left and Arthur's Seat mountain on the right which overlooks Edinburgh. Then the houses become more modern and spread out, with the odd high rise block of flats in the distance.
We reach 60 mph as we go onto an embankment with more houses below us on the left. Then we pass briefly through a cutting before going past Craigentinny Depot on the right. There are two shunters working away with various carriages. Opposite a freight line goes off to Leith docks. On the left it seems quiet flat now and you briefly glimpse the sea of the Firth of Forth estuary.
A line goes off on the left and it says "Freightliner Depot", but all that seems to be remaining is a rusty crane. There are more sidings on the right with Cross County carriages in them, then we slow as we leave the East Coast Mainline on our left and turn to the right on double non-electrified track. We enter a wide cutting and then come to a stop at Bruntsane, which is single platform station on the left side. It has a grey framed shelter with doors and a ticket machine in it. Two people get off here. As we leave a single line goes off to the right and we are on a single track.
There are new detached house on the left and we run parallel with the A1 on the right. A double track line comes in from the right, part of the Edinburgh avoiding line and then we move onto an embankment with more houses to the left of us and fields to the right. We don't go very far before we cross over the A1 and arrive at Newcrighall station. It has a single platform with a blue framed shelter on it. About five passengers are waiting to get on the train, but at least another twenty arrive in dribs and drabs before we leave. There is a large car park below the station and many people use this as a park and ride to get into Edinburgh city centre. We actually arrive two minutes early at 09.11 and there is meant to be a three minute turn around, but in reality, we are there for at least five minutes.
As the train returns to Edinburgh another ten passengers get on at Brunstane, so the carriage is quite full. The train goes on to complete the Fife Circle anti-clockwise and will return to Newcraighall to provide a half hourly service throughout the day.
Summary: A short but busy line, which will be even busier once the Waverly route reopens south of this station. MC